World must boost investment in education as ‘preeminent public good’, Deputy Secretary-General says as UNICEF report is released – Reuters
DEPUTY GENERAL SECRETARY
Here is the text of United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message on the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report on learning loss:
Ladies and gentlemen, education is fundamental to the dignity, growth and development of every human being. Progress on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is essential; to guarantee peace and human rights; reduce gender inequality; and reducing the divide between rich and poor.
Even before the pandemic, education systems struggled to equip learners with the knowledge, skills and values needed to thrive in our rapidly changing world. The most vulnerable children have been hardest hit – falling further behind their peers and risking being trapped in a life of poverty.
Yet after two years of disrupted education due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world faces a generational catastrophe. The report released today by UNICEF, the World Bank and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is an urgent wake-up call.
It shows that only one in three countries has increased its public resources for education during the current school year. And one in four countries that have seen many school closures in the past two years have even cut their education budget.
Meanwhile, the share of education funding in official development assistance and humanitarian aid has plummeted during the pandemic. Without determined and immediate action, many students may never return to class.
Some 10 million more girls are at risk of child marriage and decades of hard-won progress in access to quality education will be reversed. The Transforming Education Summit hosted by the Secretary-General in September is an opportunity for us to respond decisively, together.
Over the next six months, we call on all governments, partners and young people around the world to join forces for education. We must boost investment in education as a primary public good and step up our efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 for all by 2030.
Together, we must – and we can – transform education systems everywhere and ensure that learners of all ages reach their full potential for the benefit of everyone and our planet.
For news media. Not an official record.